This week I started a blog about the appreciation of expressive jewellery. (I like jewellery with personality and pieces that tell a story.) Looking at other jewellery blogs got me thinking about how bloggers influence each other.
When blogging about jewellery I lean towards the tone of fashion mags and Instagram influencers. The dominant voice in that kind of writing is bright, breezy and enthusiastic.
When writing about content marketing, I tend to echo the imperative “I’m here to solve your problems” tone found on many copywriting and marketing blogs.
I’m not the only blogger who follows the crowd in this way.
Adopting the voice and tone of other bloggers who write on the same subject is perfectly normal. I guess it’s a kind of genre writing. We see it in the traditional magazine market too. Serious political and economic publications use a certain style of writing. Celebrity gossip magazines use another.
I’ve noticed that being too aware of genre conventions can distort bloggers’ writing.
Bloggers on copywriting or marketing sometimes take the best practices of web writing too far. Their paragraphs are too short. They use too many section headings. They address the reader as “you” in every sentence. They’re so persuasive they sound cheesy or pushy or both.
They include too many pictures.
Going too far in all these areas produces posts that take an age to scroll down. They’re as long as a giraffe’s neck!
Fashion bloggers seem to go wrong if they’re too focused on communicating their own fashionability. In other words, how well they conform to the season’s best practice for looking good.
This leads to bright and breezy writing about what the blogger ate for their fashionable breakfast and where they went on their fashionable holiday. All rather me, me, me.
The reader wants to shout, “enough about you, show us the goods!” A fashion blog should ideally be about fashion and not about how fashionable the writer is.
Rules that probably apply to
all most blog genres
- Focus on communicating a single argument/theme/point
- Give the reader something useful
- Write concisely
- Remember that strangers aren’t interested in you
I believe it’s insecurity that makes bloggers try too hard to fit in. It takes confidence to go against standard best practice advice and the fashionable crowd.
We don’t always recognise when we are trying too hard to be like others. So what can we do to stop any sheeplike tendencies from distorting our blogging?
The answer is probably stick to the point, try to be useful, write concisely, and focus on the subject rather than yourself.
I’m aware that I sound harsh and prescriptive. Of course, for many people blogging is a hobby and a form of self-expression. They should feel free to write in whatever way they want.
What I’ve said here today is for bloggers who treat blogging as a business or professional exercise.